Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Furnishing and Decor (Page 1 of 3)

The Art We Adore

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It has been a couple weeks since we painted the main floor. We took a much-needed break and celebrated our 5-year anniversary and Slav’s birthday. Let me tell you, I feel like a million bucks. Without unfinished tasks on sight, I can finally relax without constantly thinking about what to do next. Lessons learned – better not to live in the space we renovate!

Of course we still have a few things to do for our living space, including refinishing the floor and replacing a few windows. But freshly painted walls have improved the living space so much that I already feel like decorating. So the past weekend, I finally unpacked the frames and art that have been sitting in moving boxes since our move 17 months ago.

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I made this little “less house, more home” art year ago. I had just moved across the country and into my own 1000 sqft apartment. It was my first time furnishing a space, which really got me thinking about my own style of home. It was also around the time that I started reading about minimalism. This quote really stuck with me since.

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This anatomy art is my favorite and I got it for $4 from a thrift store in North Carolina! Best. thrift. find. ever.

Above the sofa hung our cow art. These are 99 cents IKEA cows decorated by our friends and family. We adore them.

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At the living room corner is a painting from a Polish artist and a family friend, Adam Faglio. We love his paintings of landscape, which are often based on sceneries of Slav’s hometown.

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Next to the living room thermostat are two more arts from Slav’s hometown. On the left is the castle, which is a landmark of Slav’s hometown and a local’s favorite. And to the right is the same castle in sunset from distance. This castle is quite significant to Slav and his family. Not only Slav grew up playing there, his parents also fell in love while working on a restoration project of the castle in their early 20s.

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In Slav’s office there is another framed art picturing Slav’s hometown. See the castle in the background? Slav definitely has a thing for it.

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Slav also has a thing for cute animals. Several posters and greeting cards in IKEA frames make a gallery wall in his office.

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On either side of the new office doorway I hung a pair of art which we bought when visiting Portland, OR in 2014. They were hung on either side of our bed in our North Carolina apartment.

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In the little hall way to the bedroom, we hung a simple, snowy village art we got also from our Portland trip. I love the calm and peaceful vibe it gives.

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Another painting from our favorite Polish painter dominated the bedroom. Yes you are looking at the castle again!

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Winter castle.

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On the night stands are two Chinese paper cutting arts of our zodiac animal signs. I am a ram and Slav is a dog.

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Also hung in our bedroom are a set of framed art we bought during our first visit to Denver in 2016. They were shipped to North Carolina and now are back to Denver again.

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Our wedding photo is hung between the his-and-her closets. This is the only photo of us (or in fact, people) that we have in the house.

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I had a bit fun with the kitchen gallery wall. The pencil art of lady with teddy bear is another thrift find and all the old kitchen art were purchased from a North Carolina artist.

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This is not an impressive collection by any means – in fact, most of the art are thrifted. But I love the memories and feelings they bring out, which make a house ours and home. I am happy to see them on the walls again!

 

Finally, Painted

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13 months after moving into our house, our living space is finally painted!!!

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Our walls and ceiling were all “white” to begin with, but the old paint reads very yellow in all the rooms and just feels outdated. The Extra White we chose is the true white color in SW. It reads a bit cool but not sterile, and brings a bit of modern feel into this old house.

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All the walls got Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Eggshell, and all the ceilings went for the same color in flat.

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We used Behr Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss on all the trims and doors throughout the main floor. Although both being white, the different sheens made the trims really pop next to the walls.

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The bedroom feels bigger with the crisp white paint:

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We painted inside the closet a lovely pink (Behr Pale Bud). I think it looks great with the bright white trims and soft grey curtains.

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Our walls were textured and it took Slav several weeks to smooth all the walls with joint compound as well as patch nail holes. Needless to say that this process produced lots of dust. It feels so good to have the house dust-free again and all the furniture uncovered.

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The puppies are more than pleased to have their favorite spots back.

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We decided at the last minute to upgrade all the wallplates, light switches, and receptacles. Not only the old ones have yellowed overtime, they were also covered with layers of paint. The screwless ones bring this house to 21 century.

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We replaced the old and dingy air duct covers shortly after we moved in. Now with freshly painted walls and new wall plate, our place feels so so upgraded.

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We used the last bit of wall paint in our kitchen. After removing some upper cabinets, we lived with a cabinet-shape yellow portion of unfinished drywall. A quick layer of white paint got rid of a major eyesore:

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And all the receptacles in the kitchen were upgraded as well:

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It feels so nice to be able to look around and see crisp white everywhere.

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Getting the place painted made a huge difference on how the main floor feels. It is a lot brighter and feels clean. Now it is finally time for flowers and art!

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Next week is our wedding anniversary and it is a big relief to finish painting before the big day. We have several fun activities lined up and I will be sure to come back to report! But first, we kick back in our bright and fresh living space, and enjoy some cut flowers and herb drinks from our own garden. Happy summer!

Relaxation + Refinishing Outdoor Chairs

In modern times, having fun can be tiring too. I have found that the best way for me to unwind is doing nothing – such as walking around in the garden, sipping tea and watching the dogs play. Recently, we’ve spent chilly evenings outside on our back patio. Slav would build a fire, and I would make some tea, then we stare at the flames for a couple hours and simple let our mind go blank. Sometimes we talk, and sometimes we just sit there and be together. It is amazing how quickly the world recedes and the inner peace grows.

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Weekday nights with my man.

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After building the back patio last year, we briefly entertained the idea of getting a set of patio furniture for dining and lounging. “Let’s set up a grilling/dining area with sun shades, a fire pit area surrounded by chairs, and lots and lots of planters!” But quickly, we realized – 99 percent of the time, there are just two of us using the patio. Filling the space with furniture for friends and family we wish we could entertain who live one or two time zones away just does not make sense. So we added two seats, a fire pit, a griddle, and left the rest of our 340 sqft of patio empty.

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We were fortunate to find our lounge chairs at Habitat for Humanity for a price of a steal. Although the cushions were worn, the wood frames were timeless and steady. A few IKEA cushions gave the chairs a clean and fresh restart.

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But these chairs were not finished for outdoor use – at least we suspect so. After one summer with strong sun and a harsh winter, the wood finish diminished.

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The surface finish started peeling and small cracks developed along the wood grain.

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I decided to refinish these chairs with oil + poly to protect them from summer sun and winter snow. One sunny Saturday morning, I got to work.

1. Sanding off old finishes

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The cushions were removed and the chairs were moved under shade. I started off sanding all the old finishes off the wood with 80 grit sand paper. I recently invested in a Bosch sander which makes sanding a breeze. For hard-to-reach corners and curves I borrowed Slav’s oscillating sanding tool.

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Sanding with 80-grit paper had an immediate effect. You can see from the picture below the un-sanded surface on the left and sanded surface on the right.

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The wood after cleaning up looked quite nice. Another round of 220-grit sand paper made everything super smooth.

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I wiped everything with a clean, damp microfiber cloth and let the mountain breeze dry everything off. It was a beautiful day to work outside, especially with Roxie by my side.

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Neighbor’s dog Cabby watched through the fence too.

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2. Oiling the chairs up

For repairing the wood I wanted some kind of oil product that penetrates and hardens inside the wood grain. Since I do not know what kind of wood our chairs are made of, I decided to go the safest route and use oil-varnish blends. I had some danish oil leftover from finishing the antique guest bed, which is perfect for this project. Simply rubbing it on generously and let the wood drink, then returning half an hour later for two more coats. I kept the chairs in the shade so everything dries evenly and slowly.

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The chair on the left got one coat of oil and the one on the right had not. It is pretty amazing how much oil the wood drink and immediately you can see the tone of the wood darkened. My girl stuck around:

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After the third coat, I wiped off the excess and let the chairs dry for > 72 hours before the next step.

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The color of the wood was incredibly rich.

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Since the oil was out, I took the opportunity to finish a wooden tray. Roxie finally fell asleep next to me:

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3. Sealing for UV Protection

Generally speaking, we could have started using the chairs after they had dried overnight. But we live in the highlands where UV really takes a toll on outdoor furniture. Therefore, I wanted to coat the chairs with an oil-based sealer. We used the Preserva clear sealer because it penetrates into the wood and reflects UV light. It was recommended to us for harsh environments that cycle between sun and snow. It was originally formulated for the Southern California market, but many CO stores carry them too.

This stain only requires 1-coat application. So after the danish oil dried for 72 hours, I brushed on as much as the wood can absorb and left it dry overnight. We used the clear finish so it did not change the color/tone of the wood.

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4. Spray-on Protection for Cushions

Before we put the chairs back to use, I washed all the outdoor cushion and sprayed on a layer of water-repellent. The IKEA cushion covers are for outdoor use but do get wet when it rains. Roxie loves to nap on these chairs and she brings quite a bit dirt onto the cushions, so having a coat of fabric guard should allow us to hose down the cushions once a while and extend their lives.

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After drying overnight we put everything together and they look gooood.

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After almost a week without our outdoor seating, We are happy to curl up next to fire again Our first night in these newly finished chairs happened to be the one-year anniversary of the closing.moving-in day of our ranch. Happy Anniversary, thePolskiRanch! We had a great time here, and we hope that you are having a great time with us too!

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